Desperate Measures

By: Nana56

Betaed by the lovely and talented H.T.Marie whose comments and suggestions made this a much better story…thanks, Sweetie. Love ya'. All mistakes are mine.

Disclaimer: So not mine. Sniff

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Sam gently lowered Dean to the ground and leaned him against the side of the barn, checking his brother's neck for a pulse. His other hand went to Dean's chest and was rewarded with a slight rise and fall. Sam breathed a sigh of relief and patted Dean on the shoulder as he checked the wound in his side. There had been a tremendous amount of blood lost, but Sam had managed to pack the wound and slow the bleeding. The packing was still in place, and there didn't seem to be any new blood flow.

Sam sat back on his haunches, his head falling forward in exhaustion. Silently, he gave thanks to whoever was listening that he had the training to keep his brother alive.

Another deep sigh, accompanied by a shake of his head and followed by a deep intake of breath and Sam stood up to his full height next to his injured brother against the barn wall. He needed transportation…desperately. They were miles from where the Impala was parked and Dean needed a hospital. There were security lights on at this farm, but it didn't appear that anyone was home. There were no vehicles visible, but Sam hoped one might be found in the barn…an old truck…anything.

Giving his brother one last glance, Sam turned to study the farm house. After a few seconds, he shook his head and, checking for hazards, began walking toward the sad-looking old building. As a child, Sam had always believed that houses had personalities, and he could tell if one was occupied/loved/happy or empty/abandoned/sad. This house definitely looked sad. The screen door hung crookedly and the roof to the porch sagged on one side. As he got closer to the building, he looked around the dooryard and noticed a distinct lack of attention…there were clumps of tall grass, and areas that should have grass had none. He shook his head as he walked, knowing no one would answer his knock. The owners (heirs?) obviously didn't live here.

Sam carefully climbed the rotting steps and knocked on the door. Not wanting to waste time, he didn't wait, but went to a window and tried to see in…darkness…not even a light above a stove. He walked back to the door and tried the handle…locked. In desperation, Sam leaned his forehead against the glass window of the door. He really didn't see any reason to break in…he was sure he'd fine nothing useful. He pushed away from the door and carefully went down the porch steps and back toward the barn and his brother.

He began to take heart as he approached the barn…there appeared to be a small light inside, although it could be wishful thinking. As he changed course to head directly for a window, he spared a glance for Dean…still in the same position and still breathing, thank God. Sam stopped and sank to his haunches in front of his brother and grabbed the back of his neck with his own giant hand. "Nobody home, Dean. I'll have to see what's in the barn to get us to town or back to the Impala." No response. Sam gave Dean's neck a squeeze and went to the window.

A very tiny light shone from inside, but the window needed some elbow grease. Slowly, vague shapes formed and Sam could just make out stalls on either side, the occasional horse head looking toward him. Judging by the smell and the soft nickering reaching his ears, it was a horse barn. 'Wonderful, horse's asses, Dean's kind of crowd. The cavalry has arrived…' he thought.

Sam leaned away from the window and looked down the wall to the big barn doors. A smaller door had been cut into one, and he wouldn't have to mess with opening and closing the others. He walked to the door and, finding no lock, opened it and stepped through.

Sam felt his way to the right along the wall and quickly found a light switch. A dim light came on above his head, more than enough to show that there were, indeed, no vehicles in the barn. Sam sagged in disappointment. He wasn't overly surprised, but he'd held out a little hope. Sam kicked the wall behind him in frustration and moved to check on what might be of help in the barn.

Several minutes and much muttering later…all Sam had found was horse tack. These were riding horses and not even so much as a sulky or wagon could be found. Sam stood in silence in the middle of the large room, considering. Making a decision, he went back outside to get Dean. The smell of blood was strong on Dean and Sam wanted him inside and away from any chance predators.

Dean had slipped to the side a little when Sam reached him, he crouched down and gently tried to straighten his brother. Dean gave a soft moan as his eyelids fluttered, "Smmm?"

"I'm here, Dean. It's ok. We're at a farm, and I'm going to get you into the barn, alright?"

"'kaaay, Smmy?"

Sam sighed, "Yes, Dean, I'm fine. You're the one who's hurt, so let's get you up and inside the barn. Can you put your arms around my shoulders?"

Dean smirked. "…girl!"

"Whatever, dude, just do what you can and I'll do the rest, ok?"

Dean made a valiant attempt to help his brother get him to his feet, but Sam ended up doing almost all of the work. Dean hung completely limp in Sam's arms by the time they got halfway to the door of the old structure. Sam let go of his brother's wrist so he could get Dean's head to lean against him. Too much heat emanated from Dean's cheek as he lifted the elder's face.

"Damn!" Sam said aloud…so not good.

They made it through the door just fine, and Sam gently laid Dean on the floor. He grabbed one of the horse blankets and covered Dean as much as he could, thankful that it was, at least, not the dead of winter…Winchesters couldn't always have bad luck, could they?

Sam set about to search the barn for anything useful. He found a small room with walls that were wood at the bottom and glass at the top and a closed door. He reached for the door handle with shaking hands. Dean needed him to be in control…Dean trusted him with his life and Sam refused to let his brother down.

With a deep breath, Sam opened the door and felt on the left for the light switch. He flipped it on and found that there was a desk with the usual office-type stuff on top of it and a small refrigerator next to it. There was a coffee pot (empty), but some plastic spoons, paper napkins, and a stack of shop towels.

Opening one of the lower desk drawers and finding a good-sized first aid kit was the highlight of Sam's day, so far. He glanced through the glass wall at Dean, then opened the not-quite-white refrigerator door. He found some containers of yogurt (yogurt?), cans of soda and beer and not much else. Sam dismissed the sodas and beer and went for the yogurt.

He glanced toward Dean again and then turned to head back to him. Right next to the door, but behind it was one of those coolers that used a 5-gallon plastic water bottle. The bottle had very little water in it, but Sam knew the cooling tank inside held a fair amount, as well. He looked around for more bottles, but only found empties. Sam took the big bottle off the cooler, grabbed a towel and the rest of his finds, angrily kicked one of the empties across the room, and headed back to Dean.

Dean had not moved from the position that Sam placed him in, and Sam quickly knelt next to his brother, placing his burdens on the floor next to them. He gently cupped Dean's chin in his hand and turned the too-warm face toward his own.

"Dean?" He didn't hope for an answer, as such, but desperately needed his brother to react to his voice. Patting the older hunter's cheek, Sam tried again, "Dean? Come on, now. I need you to be in there, man!" Sam was rewarded with a groan and a weak attempt to brush his hand away.

"Thanks, dude. 'T's ok, you can rest. I found some supplies, and I'll try to get you cleaned up a bit. Got some yogurt, too. It's not much, but better than nothing, huh?" Dean immediately relaxed at his brother's soothing words.

Sam moved the horse blanket off Dean and began to uncover the wound. He'd used part of his own shirt to press on the injury and the fabric was soaked through with his brother's blood…Dean's blood…again.

Sam grabbed the nearly empty water bottle and poured some of the water over the wound, soaked the towel, and began cleaning the area around the puncture. He chewed on his lower lip as he worked efficiently and expertly, the only way he knew. Only Dean could field dress a wound faster. He'd had twice as much practice.

Most of the blood came off without too much work. Good news…the bleeding had almost completely stopped. Bad news…tiny red lines moved out from the hole in his brother's side…infection.

"Dude, you should've sterilized that tree branch before impaling yourself on it. Or just taken a header off the cliff with the rest of our stuff so the first aid kit would be handier."

Sam tried not to think about the thud of his heart in his chest as he'd tied himself to a tree and rappelled down the side of the cliff to reach his brother. Dean was holding onto the branch sticking into his side to try and take the weight of his body from the wound…afraid that letting go would mean losing his whole side and plunging to his death.

Dean's scream as Sam pulled him off the branch was probably heard for miles, and when it was over, Dean was immediately unconscious…mercifully, for both brothers.

Sam brought himself back to the task at hand and realized that he'd been working automatically. The peroxide he'd poured over the wound was doing it's job. Going back into the first aid kit, he found a pressure bandage, no…two of them! One for the entrance wound and one for the exit wound in the back. The peroxide bubbled pink from the small amount of blood escaping the wounds.

Arranging the bandages so that they each helped hold the other in place and helped with the pressure, Sam had his brother wrapped up in no time.

He needed to get some fluids into Dean so that he didn't dehydrate from the fever and to help his body with the blood loss. Small moans and whimpers were the only sounds that Dean was able to produce and Sam began to talk to him to bring him around.

"Dean. Dean!" Sam patted his brother's shoulder and gently moved him around as he tried to get the older man to wake up. "You gotta wake up for me, Dean! You need to drink some water and I've got something for you to try and eat."

"Mmmm, no Smmmy."

"Yes, Dean!" a little more forcefully, now with his voice. Sam didn't want to risk shaking Dean any harder and causing more pain to the injury in his side. "Dean, I need you to wake up! I need you to drink this water!"

"Mmmmee? 'Kay?" Dean struggled to find his brother and make sure he was alright.

"I'm fine, Dean. Here, I need you to take a little sip of this water for me, ok?"

Dean's eyes continued to search for his little brother, but nodded slightly at the request. As Sam put a hurriedly emptied and rinsed yogurt cup up to Dean's mouth, Dean took a sip and then fell back against Sam's chest, the action apparently requiring more energy than Dean could spare.

After a second, Dean frowned, "Pish?"

"What?" Sam tried to adjust to see his brother's face, so hoping he had heard that wrong. "Here, drink a little more, Dean." Sam slipped a couple of aspirin into his brother's mouth as he held the cup up to his lips.

Dean nodded, took a larger sip and then licked his lips. Nodding again, he said, "Peesh!"

"Peesh? Dean, what?"

Sam was now able to see Dean's feverish eyes and they locked for a second. He sluggishly looked down at the cup in Sam's hand and back up to lock green eyes with soft, hazel orbs, "Peesh."

Totally lost for a split second, Sam looked back and forth between Dean's eyes…and then the light came on. "Peach?"

Dean gave a small smile and closed his eyes.

Sam chuckled, "Sorry, man. It's a yogurt cup, and I tried to rinse it out, but didn't want to waste the water."

"S'good."

"Good! Have some more, then. You have a fever, and your wound is infected, so we have to keep you hydrated. After you've had a drink and some yogurt, we'll get out of here and find a hospital."

Dean frowned and stared hard at his brother, "You!"

"No, Dean. This injury is more than I can handle. You need antibiotics and a doctor and some hot nurses to look after you."

Dean's frown turned into a slow grin, and his eyebrows waggled.

"That's my boy!" Sam held the cup to Dean's lips and smiled as he watched the liquid disappear. "Will you try some yogurt? It's soft and cool, should help a little."

Dean sagged against his brother again and shook his head, "Tired."

"Ok, Dean, rest a while and then we'll try again?" Dean nodded slightly, head falling to the side. Frightened, Sam placed his fingers to his brother's neck and gave a big sigh of relief as he felt a somewhat stronger pulse…Dean was asleep…or passed out.

Sam sat holding his sleeping brother and looked around the barn. Finally, Sam made a decision that had been swirling around in his brain for quite some time. He'd studied the map of the area long enough to have it fairly well memorized and knew where they had to be. This location should be closer to the car, still too far to walk in a decent amount of time, but…

Sam gently moved Dean back to the floor and got up to walk down the aisle between the stalls. He found a light pull hanging down and pulled it, turning on a strong light from the ceiling. A couple of the horses nickered in greeting, and one came to the door of his stall…a beautiful chestnut gelding that Sam hoped could run quite a distance. In Sam's mind, the gelding was volunteering for the job, and, as he looked into the horses eyes, Sam began to calm, and reached out to open the door.

The magnificent animal stepped forward and stuck his nose out to Sam, who gently placed his hand on the soft skin. It had been a very long time since Sam had ridden a horse. He, Dean, and their dad had worked a job on a ranch when the brothers were teenagers, and even though it was a supernatural job, it was one of their favorites. They'd both loved the horses and the ranch work…it was dirty, dusty, and smelly, but good. He and Dean had ridden as often as they could and became accomplished riders. Guess it was time to call up that old skill.

Sam got the bridle from the wall next to the stall and spoke quietly to the horse, "You have a very important job tonight, my friend! You need to carry me to our car, alright? My brother's hurt really bad, and I can't do anything more for him here. He needs a hospital. The car is only a couple of miles away and you look like you could go for a run. What do you say?"

Sam continued to talk quietly as he placed the bit into the horse's mouth and brought the bridle up over the top of the animal's head, making sure everything was comfortable. "Guess I haven't forgotten everything, huh? What's your name, anyway? I don't want to just call you 'horse' if I'm going to ask you to do a job for me." Looking at the plaque on the stall door, Sam saw that it said 'Chestnut Dream'.

"Chestnut Dream, huh? That's a fine name for a fine horse. I'll call you Dream, ok?" Dream flicked his ears around as Sam talked to him, and the young hunter took that as a yes. Pulling forward on the reins, Sam began walking toward Dean, "Come on, Dream, I want you to meet my brother, Dean."

As the two came close to the prone Winchester, Dream caught the scent of blood and began to shy away. Sam tightened his grip on the reins and spoke soothingly to the horse. "It's ok, Dream. This is my brother and that scent is the reason we have to make this ride."

Sam continued to speak soothingly, and Dream responded. Sam shook his head at the foolishness of what he was about to do…he didn't know anything about this horse. For all he knew, Dream would start bucking as soon as he got on his back…there was just no other choice.

Grabbing a saddle that looked like it would fit the beautiful horse along with a saddle blanket, Sam quickly but carefully smoothed the blanket into place and got the saddle in place and adjusted the cinch. He also had to adjust the stirrups to fit his height…he apparently was way taller than the person that usually rode Dream. The beautiful animal stood patiently and allowed Sam to do what was needed, his soft, deep brown eyes following Sam as he moved about.

Assured that Dream was ready, Sam tied the reins to the door and went back to Dean. He was still sleeping, but if Sam was going to be gone for a bit, he wanted Dean to have some more fluids in him.

Sam wrangled himself back behind his brother, trying to be gentle, but not so gentle that Dean didn't awaken. Sam still didn't like the heat that Dean was putting out, but he didn't seem to be any worse…his breathing was shallower and faster than normal, but seemed about the same as before.

Sam splashed more water into the yogurt container, took a small sip for himself, and held the container to Dean's lips, "Dean? Dean. I have some water here for you, and you need to drink it. You're still fighting a fever, and I need you to drink some more. Dean! Open your mouth, Dean."

Dean let out a slight whimper as he opened his mouth. He remained leaning against Sam's chest and Sam wasn't sure if it was from fatigue or the fever, but it did nothing to lessen his worry. He poured a little water into Dean's mouth and some of it ran out the side, but Dean swallowed and opened his mouth for more…this time keeping most of the liquid inside and swallowing. This process was repeated a few times until the little container was empty and Sam was satisfied.

"Great job, Dean!" Dean panted slightly from the effort of swallowing, but seemed comfortable enough. Sam put the container on the floor and prepared to tell Dean what he was about to do.

"Dean, I'm going to leave you for a little while…but I'll be back as soon as I can," Sam said the last part quickly as Dean's eyes popped open and he began a weak struggle. "I'm going to take a horse and go get the car and come back for you, ok?"

Dean rolled his head to look for his brother as he continued struggling. Sam once again got into a position where Dean could see him and continued talking quietly and evenly. "I'm right here, Dean. I've got you, and you're safe, but I need to get the car. No one lives here. There's no phone and no vehicles…just horses. I can't get you to the hospital on a horse, Dean, your wound won't take a ride like that. Besides, you don't want to leave your baby out there all by herself, do you?"

Dean quieted as Sam had assumed he would at mention of the car being by itself. "OK, Dean? I'll turn off the big light. You can take a nap, and I'll be back before you know it."

With the struggle and emotions gone from Dean's face, Sam was taken aback to see that his brother, at that moment, looked far older than his 28 years. Sam leaned his forehead into Dean's temple and rested there for a moment…regretting all the burdens his big brother had carried all of his life. Dean didn't pull away from the touch and each seemed to draw strength from the other.

"Saammy?"

"Yeah, Dean?" Sam raised his head and looked at his brother.

"Careful."

Sam nodded, "I will be, Dean, I promise. I'm going to go, now, ok?"

Dean's breathing hitched, and one tiny tear slid down his cheek, but there was confidence in his tired eyes as he nodded. Sam patted Dean's arm and began the process of gently laying his brother down. Droopy green eyes followed Sam as he dug the car keys out of Dean's jacket and turned off the bright light. The interior plunged into darkness that soon became brighter as their eyes adjusted.

Dean's eyes were only slits as Sam came back to him one final time. "I'll see you in a little while, Dean."

Receiving no answer from his now sleeping brother, Sam stood and looked at the man who, for all intents and purposes, had raised him. In sleep, Dean's features this time reflected his youth in spite of the crease of pain on his forehead. Sam squatted down next to his brother and placed his hand gently on the fevered brow.

"Hang in there, Dean. I'll be back," he whispered.

Clamping down on his emotions, Sam stood in determination and grabbed the reins to lead the horse outside. He stopped in surprise as he found that the sky had turned from pitch black to a pre-dawn dark gray. As he looked around, bushes by the house and trees outside the realm of the security light became individuals instead of large clumps of darkness.

He turned to the horse in relief, "Looks like we'll be able to see a little bit on our ride, boy." He took the reins in his left hand, grabbed the saddle horn, stepped into the stirrup and onto the saddle in one fluid movement. He mentally patted himself on the back as he sat in the saddle for a moment to see if Dream had been faking…there was nothing other than the slight movement to adjust for Sam's weight on his back.

"Thanks, Dream. Let's go." Sam gently squeezed the horse on both sides and Dream stepped off into a trot that jostled Sam's insides too much and brought a frown to his face. He'd always hated to trot…it'd never been as smooth as the "trotters" he'd seen race on tv looked. Using his knees again, Sam caused Dream to step up his pace to an easy lope that Sam enjoyed. As the gray of the sky became even lighter, Sam used his knees again to quicken Dream's pace.

"What do you say, Dream? Shall we go for it? I need to get to the car and back to my brother."

Sam leaned slightly forward, and, squeezing with his knees and jabbing with his heels, fell into the easy rhythm as Dream stretched his head forward and moved into a flat out gallop. Sam's too-long hair flew out behind him, and Dream's mane and tail were straight out as the horse gave his all. Sam leaned over further and couldn't help the smile that appeared on his face. It'd been a long time since he'd felt this kind of freedom; for a few moments, he let himself forget the urgency of the situation and gave himself over to the feeling of exhilaration that swept through him.

He let the wind blow through his mind and his soul as it blew through his hair and took his cares and worries and the horrors of the life he led with it. His shoulders relaxed as the tension leeched from them and horse and rider were one in the moment, both enjoying it. Trees flew by in a blur, and small animals scurried out of the way of the flying pair, but Sam scarcely noticed, so wrapped up was he in the oneness of the situation.

Chestnut Dream was strong and carried Sam's weight easily…he was also smart and avoided potholes and other obstacles without Sam's guidance. There was no need to keep urging the horse to his fullest, he just gave it. Sam wondered at the horse's ability to sustain such a speed, but was very glad for it. In a little while, however, there was a change in the rhythm of the run…no longer fluid, but forced. Sam came back to himself and realized that the magnificent animal was finally tiring.

Regretting the loss of the moment, Sam straightened slightly and pushed into the stirrups as he took more control back on the reins…beginning to slow Dream down a bit. They loped along for a while longer and Sam realized they were almost to the spot where the Impala had been left. Everything came crashing back to him…Dean's condition and the urgent need to get the car and back to the barn to get him to the hospital, and as horse and rider approached the Impala, Sam gave a deep sigh.

He brought Chestnut Dream to a halt not far from the driver's side back door and dismounted to begin unsaddling the horse. He'd take the saddle, blanket and bridle back to the barn and turn Dream loose to make it back on his own.

In the east, the sky was becoming a pale blue with a hint of pink and Sam was easily able to see everything around him. His own trip back to the barn should be swift, as well. Placing the items in the back seat, he turned to the large horse.

"You did well, Dream, and I had a blast! Maybe we can do this again some time, maybe in broad daylight and not under the same circumstances, huh? Now, go on home!" Sam slapped him on the rump and the horse just started and rolled an eye at him, but didn't take off running.

"Ah, so that's the way it is?"

Sam got behind the wheel of the car and, placing the keys in the ignition, brought the powerful engine to life with a roar…revving it for good measure. Dream startled and took off running in the direction of the barn. Sam hoped the horse wouldn't run the whole distance and decided that he was too smart for that. He might even find a nice clump of grass to nibble on and end up just moseying home.

Sam slammed the car into gear (Dean would so kick his ass for treating his baby that way), and flooring the accelerator and throwing dirt and gravel behind the car, headed back to get his brother.

Later, Sam didn't remember much about the trip to town. He focused from time to time on the few ruts and potholes, but mostly he worried about Dean. He had no idea how long the trip took, but for a worried brother, it took unbearably long. Suddenly, they were at the ER and Sam was slamming on the brakes and yelling for help as he ran around to carefully open the door where an unconscious Dean leaned against the window. Nurses, orderlies, and a gurney magically appeared at his side. Hands reached to relieve him of his precious burden. Sam sagged against the car for an instant until it registered that they were taking Dean into the building and away from him. He gathered himself together and ran inside behind the little group.

Before Sam could get too far into the waiting room, he was waylaid by a no nonsense nurse who prevented him from following his brother behind the curtain into the exam area. Sam blinked at the woman, aware that she was speaking, but not really understanding the words. The woman thrust a clipboard at him and pointed to the chairs and then to the desk by the wall. Sam automatically accepted the clipboard and headed to the chairs, falling into the first one he came to.

Unable to sit still, Sam began to walk around the room, casually picking up and briefly looking at the various magazines before tossing them back down. There weren't many people in the waiting room…possibly due to the hour of the day, so he didn't have to worry about bothering anyone as he made his circuit. After the first lap around the room, he became more restless and began glancing nervously at the curtain that separated him from his brother. He walked over to the desk and bounced back and forth on his feet, smiling anxiously while waiting for the nurse to get off the phone.

When she hung up, she spoke before Sam could ask his question, "I'm sorry, Mr. Webster, still no word. If you'd just have a seat, the doctor will come to speak to you as soon as he can." The nurse's smile did not reach her eyes.

"Uh, ok, um, thanks."

Sam startled as his brother's voice came from behind the curtain in a high-pitched scream only used when Dean was terrified for his little brother.

"Saaaaaammmm!"

Recovering instantly, Sam ran for the curtain, not missing a step as he leaped over a chair to get to his brother. As he ran through the curtain, he could hear Dean calling Sam's name weakly, doctors and nurses trying to hold him down as he struggled to get up and find his lost sibling. Sam unceremoniously pulled a nurse out of the way, grabbed Dean's arm with his right hand, placed his left hand on his brother's forehead, and began moving his thumb in soothing circles.

"I'm here, Dean. It's ok. You're in an emergency room, and you have to let the doctors and nurses do their jobs to help you. Open your eyes, big brother, and look at me."

Dean's struggles began to ease, and his eyes began to open and blink.

"Sam?"

Sam smiled, "Yeah, I'm here. You're going to be fine, and I'm not going anyplace." Sam looked at the doctor pointedly, and after a one second hesitation, the doctor nodded. Sam acknowledged and looked back at Dean, whose eyes had never left his face. "I'm going to get out of the way, now, so these nice people can do what they need to do for you, but I'll be right here…right here, Dean. OK?"

Dean nodded and watched as Sam backed away, but didn't leave his brother's line of sight. The staff watched the exchange in silence, and, when Sam nodded to them, went back to working on their now cooperative patient. Dean was soon asleep again, and Sam relaxed a little.

The doctor finally finished his exam of Dean and came to talk to Sam. "It looks like your brother was lucky, and you did some fine first aid work."

Sam shifted on his feet.

"I don't think any vital organs were damaged, but we're going to take a couple of x-rays and prep him for surgery to see how much repair we need to do."

Sam nodded. "I need to be there when he wakes up. He'll be confused again and wonder where I am."

The doctor considered for a moment and then nodded. "We'll let you sit with him in recovery. We don't normally do that, but the best interests of the patient outweigh hospital rules. Let me show you to the waiting room."

OOOOOOOOOOO

Sam leaned slightly forward, and, squeezing with his knees and jabbing with his heels, fell into the easy rhythm as Dream stretched his head forward and moved into a flat out gallop. Sam's too-long hair flew out behind him, and Dream's mane and tail were straight out as the horse gave his all. Sam leaned over further and couldn't help the smile that appeared on his face. It'd been a long time since he'd felt this kind of freedom; for a few moments, he let himself forget the urgency of the situation and gave himself over to the feeling of exhilaration that swept through him.

He let the wind blow through his mind and his soul as it blew through his hair and took his cares and worries and the horrors of the life he led with it. His shoulders relaxed as the tension leeched from them and horse and rider were one in the moment, both enjoying it. Trees flew by in a blur, and small animals scurried out of the way of the flying pair, but Sam scarcely noticed, so wrapped up was he in the oneness of the situation.

Chestnut Dream was strong and carried Sam's weight easily…he was also smart and avoided potholes and other obstacles without Sam's guidance. There was no need to keep urging the horse to his fullest, he just gave it. Sam wondered at the horse's ability to sustain such a speed, but was very glad for it.

"Mr. Webster? Mr. Webster!"

Sam jumped at the name and realized that he'd been sleeping. Rubbing his eyes, he looked up and saw the doctor staring at him intently. Sam gathered himself from his dream and stood.

"Sorry, I guess I dozed off."

"That's quite all right, Mr. Webster."

"Sam."

"Sam, your brother's out of surgery and in recovery. There was no vital organ involvement in the injury and it turned out not to be as bad as it looked. The major problem was the significant blood loss, but you did a fine job at first aid, and even that could have been a lot worse. We've given him 2 units of blood so far and also have him on IV antibiotics. I'll let you go in, now, but you must be quiet for the other patients. Your brother will be fine, but he'll need to take it easy for a little while."

Sam nodded, thanked the doctor and walked toward the door the doctor indicated. He poked his head inside and saw a row of curtains and beds sticking out between them. Dean lay on the third bed, and Sam hurried to his side, giving the nurse a nod. She nodded in return and brought him a chair to sit in.

"Thanks."

"No problem. We're going to start waking him up in a few minutes, but you can sit right here until we do."

Sam nodded his thanks again. He stared down at his sleeping sibling and suddenly felt exhausted. Putting his left hand on Dean's short hair and taking his brother's right hand in his own, he spoke softly…only for Dean's ears, "You dumb sonuvabitch! You've got to stop doing this! You really scared me this time, bro. You're going to be fine and I'll be here when you wake up."

Sam's thumb rubbed Dean's forehead and, even though asleep, Dean seemed to turn into the touch. Sam, not wanting to release his brother, hooked a foot into the chair to bring it closer and sat down to wait.

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Thanks for reading and please review! It feeds the muse.

Nana